Monday, April 26, 2010

The Fantastic Fava Forest

Friday 4/23 was a fabulous sunny day. The gleaners set out to the Stanford Community farm, where all winter their harvest had been steadily growing. Steadily is a bit of an understatement actually. Last time the gleaners had looked the fava beans were decidedly growing, at this point they had turned into a massive forest. The mission was to clear the plot.

The co-founder and the redhead went to work! The first obstacle was the black moving insect matter at the tops of some of the plants. Judging by the ladybugs (and confirmed later by our advisors) they were aphids and we discarded the plants that had been overrun by them (organic farming, c'est la vie). Luckily most of the fava crop was untouched and we collected buckets of bean pods, some measuring between 8 and 10 inches. We were clearing the plots, so we pulled the plants up by their roots, or in some cases realized shovels would be necessary to extract the stump like stalks from the ground. One weird observation, the fava stalks that had grown sideways, through the other stalks, produced by far the largest bean pods.

The biggest surprise of the day was the perfect kale hidden among the fava stalks. We ended up with a couple of bunches, which I'm sure will make someone at the free farm very happy.

The two gleaners finished for the day, leaving a small chunk of forest for gleaner three to delight in upon her arrival. We are so excited for spring crop planting. We hope to put in tomatoes and beans!

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